The Third Way: Free Market Medicine

(OCTS Original Commentary)

Republicans of various stripes have been pushing a number of comprehensive alternatives to Obamacare (universal tax credits, etc.).

While it is tempting to say that anything would be better than the miscreant ACA, we don’t want our lives run by right-wing masterminds any more than we want our lives run by left-wing masterminds. We don’t want a Republican 3,000-page bill to replace Obamacare’s 3,000-page bill.

There is a third way: free-market medicine.

Republicans and Democrats are both chasing the wrong rabbit — the solution isn’t more government (Democrats), or a different, ‘smarter’ sort of big government program (Republicans), it’s ‘choice’.

Obamacare sends almost all care through the insurance process, through all those middlemen, and now adds bureaucrats, fees, taxes, and electronic paperwork. Now your premiums go through all those nitpickers, who then make your doctor jump through loads of hoops, and then–after all that hassle–(maybe) pay your doctor.

That’s the basic problem, isn’t it? All of that is wasted effort for everyone. It wastes a great deal of your premium. Yet, everyone is trying to solve the problems of middlemen (e.g., insurance), with more middlemen (government busybodies). That’s a bogus direction.

The solution is simple: just pay your doctor, cash, for ordinary care. That’s faster, cheaper, and then your doctor works for you, not some bureaucratic machine. If we made prices public, people could (and would) shop for value, quickly driving prices down.

In other words, make prices public, then let people shop, and let them choose. Medical care could cost half of what it costs today. Real insurance–for disasters, not everyday care–would then be quite a lot cheaper, easier to afford, and affordable for more people. Those simple steps go an enormous way toward solving the biggest problem — cost (which the ACA does not address) — and make the remaining problems (like assistance for the truly needy) considerably smaller and easier to handle.

Best of all, all of that can be done without any giant federal programs, no takeovers, no individual mandates, and without taking anyone’s liberty, privacy or choices.

The train went off the track with wage and price controls in World War II. Employers were allowed to offer tax-advantaged health insurance to their employees to make up for effectively capping salaries during war-time. This was an extraneous government intervention that had nothing to do with healthcare. While the healthcare system had not been perfect up to that point, there wasn’t much wrong with it either. There was no great clamor to fix the healthcare system because nothing was seriously awry.  The entire subsequent history of healthcare in America is best understood as one government intervention after another to fix the problems arising from previous government interventions.

The government is running a ‘dependency machine’ in healthcare. First, it intervenes to raise prices and costs, then it turns around and says, ‘Oh, but we’ll HELP you.’ This is insidious.

It’s time we got rid of the dependency machine and got back to being a free people. Free-market medicine is the way.

 

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Vermont Decides Single-Payer Unworkable

Comment: After much study, Vermont has concluded that (bureaucrats + middlemen) isn’t any cheaper than (middlemen + bureaucrats), even when you add in big taxes and fees. Kudos to their governor for being open and honest about their findings.

“Tax hikes required to pay for the system would include a 11.5 percent payroll tax as well as an additional income tax ranging all the way up to 9.5 percent. [Gov.] Shumlin admitted that in the current climate, such a precipitous hike would be disastrous for Vermont’s economy.”

[...] “Shumlin’s admission that the shift to single-payer won’t alleviate rising health care costs — and that it’ll add a bundle of tax hikes — buttresses single-payer’s political opposition.”

[...] “Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, applauded the decision to back off the plans.”

‘…We’ve already spent far too much money exploring this idea, and the discussion has paralyzed our business community.’ ”

Vermont’s Giving Up On Single-Payer Health Care Over Ballooning Costs
by Sarah Hurtubise, Reporter, 12/17/2014

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Top Tweets – Something Wrong with the Way Obamacare Supporters Think

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Schumer: wrong to focus on the uninsured and pass #Obamacare b/c the uninsured don’t vote (huh?)

NOW Harkin tells us: #ACA does not simplify healthcare or reduce costs, better to have done nothing at all

Howard Dean: #Obamacare a special interest bonanza – “Everyone got their deal”

$20B later, now they tell us: EHR holy grail of interoperability “impossible in the abstract” (oversold)

Low-income people in high cost areas find #Obamacare unaffordable even after subsidies

SHOP exchange floundering; does not let employers give workers choice of several plans from different insurers.

Medicaid expansion has NOT added healthcare jobs as touted; more jobs added in non-expansion states

More Americans delaying medical treatment under #Obamacare (#ACA has made problem WORSE not better as promised)

CRS: justification for medical device tax is thin; will fall on consumers, not corporate profits

EEOC sues #ACA-compliant corporate wellness plans; CEOs threaten to pull support for law

 

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OCTS Opinion – Beating Obamacare, Getting Something Better

OPINION – OCTS original     Dec. 9, 2014

Forlorn individuals who want better health care, better prices, and freedom of choice often ask OCTS “But what can I do?” The answer is, “A lot.”

Expand Freedom

  • Urge state lawmakers to ease restrictions on who may build and improve medical care facilities (“Certificate of need” laws). Such laws protect overpriced facilities and lock out competitors.

Don’t Take the Bait

  • Urge your state lawmakers not to expand Medicaid, a poverty program now being misused to hook the middle class on government dependency. We should be getting people out of poverty, not getting more people on Obamacare poverty programs.

Contrary to what Jonathan Gruber would tell you, Medicaid expansion isn’t free federal money. It’s your tax money to start with, then Medicaid pays less than cost.  When doctors see Medicaid patients at less than cost, they have to pass the rest onto their patients who pay.  That means higher prices for your community.

Helping the Poor

If a poor person can’t buy the things they want and need, Obamacare doesn’t solve that. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 1-of-5 American households, no one has a job of any kind.  That’s the problem, and by part-timing people, depressing wages, and discouraging hiring, Obamacare makes it worse.

For People Opting Out
If you’re young, healthy, or both, you may wish to opt out of Obamacare and pay Obamacare’s much cheaper penaltax(tm) instead. If so, you can look for and frequent “cash-friendly” physicians and clinics for care.  Taking cash exempts them from much of Obamacare, yielding a better price and better experience for both of you.

If you need surgery, whether you have insurance or not, consider outstanding free-market providers like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Get great care and advance liberty.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma’s total price may easily be less than your out-of-pocket cost for using your shiny new Obamacarp policy at your local hospital.

Shop, and Negotiate
If the Surgery Center of Oklahoma is too far, don’t despair, show your hospital the SC of OK’s price (it’s on their website) and ask your hospital to match it. That’s shopping, which is something we badly need in health care–that’s how we fix it. Be part of the solution.

TheSelfPayPatient.com has lots more tips on reducing your cost, saving on prescriptions and tests, using “temporary” policies, and more.

Let freedom ring!

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The Citizen’s Guide to Obamacare, Gruber edition

One of Obamacare’s Chief Masterminds Describes the Plan, His Presentation Captured and Rendered Onto Paper for Public Discussion

OCTS original reporting
Dec. 2, 2014

In a series of presentations circa 2012, Professor Jonathan Gruber traveled America promoting his creation, Obamacare, to America’s would-be ruling class: ivory-towered academics.

The Obamacare architect’s newly-discovered videos are the first honest, adult-level explanation of Obamacare most Americans have ever had the chance to see.

Not meant for We the People[1], the videos are as refreshing in their clarity as they are chilling in their intentions (and vision for American healthcare).

Like any good fast-talking salesman, the Professor beguiles his audiences with his 220-word-per-minute delivery, too rapidly for the uninitiated to intelligently question or wonder. Speed covers many errors, assumptions, and inconsistencies in the plan.

In the interest of public discussion, the Obamacare Truth Squad has transcribed one of Prof. Gruber’s entire presentations, freezing it on paper for more sober and rational analysis. Examined on its merits, Obamacare wobbles badly.

We’ve also added commentary and references highlighting some of Obamacare’s many errors, assumptions, false dilemmas, and other defects, all in language an ordinary concerned citizen can understand, plus we’ve added navigation aids and other enhancements to the transcript itself.

For anyone who’s at all interested in understanding Obamacare, take it from us, reading this transcript is the single-best two hours you could have possibly spent in the entire nearly five-year history of the law. It’s the most illuminating exposition of Obamacare bar none, and lays bare the stereotypical Big Government central planners’ chilling mindset at no extra charge.

The full document (transcript, with OCTS commentary, index, and references) is available below, just a click away.

The Citizens Guide to Obamacare_Gruber Edition rev1.0

[1] In fact, the University of Rhode Island suddenly deleted the video transcribed here without explanation – during  transcription – shortly after it was discovered and became controversial.  Thankfully, American Commitment posted a replacement so the work could be completed.

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Obamacare: Insurance Drains Your Funds, Doesn’t Mean You Get Seen

Comment: Obamacare’s taking people’s money, but despite (or because of) all the premiums they pay, they can’t afford to be seen. As critics of the Obamacare legislation pointed out early on, health insurance is NOT healthcare.

“For Martha Gruberman, a 63-year-old resident of south suburban Steger, obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Care Act hasn’t made it any easier to pay for routine medical care.”

“A plan she chose through the federal marketplace requires her to pay $5,000 toward medical costs before her insurer contributes anything. With an income of about $22,000, she doesn’t expect to hit that mark.”

“”I’m never going to use it,” she said. “I can’t use it. I can’t afford it.“”

[...] “As a result, many consumers with high-deductible plans are following old habits: delaying care or taking their needs to community health centers that have traditionally served the uninsured, local health administrators said.”

“”These people, even though they have access to some form of insurance, really do not have health care,” said Suzanne Hoban, executive director of Family Health Partnership Clinic, a free and reduced-cost clinic in Crystal Lake.”

[...]

“Premiums for the cheapest bronze plans in Illinois are increasing by an average of 11 percent in 2015, according to state data. In the Chicago area, that means a 40-year-old will choose among bronze plans that have an average premium of $243 and a median deductible of $5,000, lower than the state median.”

Some newly insured still struggle to pay for health care
By Wes Venteicher, Chicago Tribune
December 1, 2014

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Poll: More Americans Delaying Necessary Care Than Before Obamacontraption Passed

Comment: Obamacare steals premium dollars for useless government ‘care’ items, like free birth control for seniors. Is it any wonder, then, that Gallup reports people are finding they can’t afford to see a doctor? Now they’re delaying needed care more than ever, even for serious illnesses.  Thanks for the high deductibles, Obamacare!

“One in three Americans has put off seeking medical treatment in 2014 due to high costs, according to Gallup — the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.”

“Thirty-three percent of Americans have delayed medical treatment for themselves or their families because of the costs they’d have to pay, according to the survey. Obamacare, of course, had promised that it would help make health care more affordable for everyone, but the number of people who can’t afford a trip to the doctor has actually risen three points since 2013, before most Obamacare provisions took effect.”

Gallup: Peak Number Of Americans Delaying Medical Care Over Costs
Sarah Hurtubise, Reporter, 11/28/2014

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Top Tweets – It’s Not Working

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It’s Not Working -

#ACA wellness approach still a flop; employer spending goes up w/no health benefit. ACA Safeway Amendment debunked.

CMS delays EHR deadline; $20 billion fiasco continues

More regs proposed for public utilities, oops, private insurers. Drug committees and appeals for drug denials.

Virginia families on bronze plans looking at $19,824 out of pocket before insurance kicks in

#ACA calorie-count labeling makes people eat MORE; Congressional morons want requirement expanded

Vaunted Rhode Island exchange has no funding mechanism; other exchanges scrambling as fed dough runs out

Pattern holds: #ACA approach of favoring hospitals raises costs, as oncologists forced to sell practices

 Tampa-area exchange plans going up by double digits.

#ACA supporters never disclosed enrollees would have to shop every year for a new plan to maintain their subsidies

Provider networks will continue to narrow

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Architect Gruber Told Them ACA Would Cause Big Rate Hikes

Comment: Politifact’s 2013 Lie-of-the-Year ? Even worse than we thought. Prof. Gruber’s models–the same models used by the Obama administration–always projected big rate hikes, and that people would lose their plans. Also, don’t miss the stunning fact that premium increases were always slated to outstrip the subsidies from the very start, the consequence being that people would pay MORE for insurance, not save $2,500 a year like the lying Obama promised. Malice aforethought.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist [...] was hired by former Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010 to conduct an analysis on how the federal health-care reform would impact the state.”

“Mr. Gruber’s study predicted about 90 percent of individuals without employer-sponsored or public insurance would see their premiums spike by an average of 41 percent. Once tax subsidies were factored in, about 60 percent of those in the individual market were projected to see their premiums go up 31 percent, according to his analysis.”

“In addition, 53 percent of those insured by companies with fewer than 50 employees, would see their premiums rise by an average of 15 percent even after subsidies, Mr. Gruber forecasted. The report warned such increases could impact small companies’ decision whether to provide health insurance to their workers.”

[...] “In addition to premium rate increases, Mr. Gruber’s work estimated that 100,000 Wisconsinites would be involuntarily dropped from their employer sponsored health insurance also running counter to the President’s claim at the time that if a you liked their health-care policy, you could keep it.

New deception questions: Obamacare adviser warned of premium increases as Obama vowed savings
By Kelly Riddell – The Washington Times – Monday, November 24, 2014

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SHOP Flop – Small Businesses Flee Obamacare’s Early Enslavement Period

Comment: a) Small businesses stayed away from Obamacare’s SHOP program’s enrollment in droves, avoiding the government’s new phony ‘market’.  b) Isn’t it stunning (no, scary) that now, five months later, these federal Pinocchios still won’t (or can’t) tell us how many signed up on their website? Whether from vile politics, sheer incompetence or both, any combination demonstrates why the government Gruber-elites shouldn’t ever be running our health care.

Early enrollment for the health overhaul’s small business insurance exchanges [SHOP] fell far short of the 2 million workers who were expected to sign up this year. The shortfall calls into question the future of the exchanges as they begin accepting enrollment for 2015.”

“About 76,000 people bought coverage on 18 exchanges through June 1, according to a report released this month by the Government Accountability Office. Enrollment figures from 33 state exchanges that are run through the federal government are not yet available, but researchers expect those totals to be low as well.”

[...] “Some companies skipped offering health insurance altogether and simply gave their employees money and sent them to the overhaul’s other exchange, which is designed for people buying insurance on their own, not through an employer.”

“Broker Ken Statz said the prices for what was offered on Ohio’s small business exchange weren’t competitive, and temporary tax credits that help some small business buy coverage may have to be beefed up.

Small business insurance exchanges seek rebound

The Associated Press, 22 November 2014

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